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  3. Orthodontic Treatment Options and FAQs Answered
Orthodontic Treatment Options and FAQs Answered

What Is Orthodontics in Dentistry?

Orthodontics is a dental speciality that focuses on the treatment of malocclusions.

In a nutshell, “malocclusion” is a condition in which the upper and lower jaws’ teeth are not properly aligned. When the teeth are misaligned, they can cause an improper bite, such as an overbite or underbite.

Orthodontists provide both permanent and removable appliances to help people with their bite. The plan is to gradually straighten their teeth and produce a fresh, stunning smile.

Many people have struggled with uneven, crowded, and protruding (buck) teeth for hundreds of years. However, as dentistry progressed into the twenty-first century, methods for correcting crooked teeth became apparent as technology advanced.

Orthodontic appliances are currently available in a number of styles for both children and adults, including:

  • Braces or clear aligners, which are sometimes called “invisible braces”
  • Headgear (used in combination with braces)
  • Fixed or removable space maintainers
  • Permanent or removable retainers, depending on your preference and needs
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) splints and other jaw repositioning appliances for children with jaw irregularities
  • Jaw surgery, also called orthognathic surgery

What’s The Difference Between Dentist and Orthodontist?

Orthodontists specialise in the treatment of crooked and misaligned teeth, as well as jaw disorders.

The following are some of the most popular orthodontic treatments:

  • clear aligners
  • braces
  • headgear
  • space maintainers

Dentists are specialists in procedures that influence your overall dental and oral health.

Among these are the following treatments:

  • Cleanings,
  • cavity fillings,
  • crowns,
  • implants, and
  • gum disease therapy are just a few of the procedures offered.

Orthodontists are orthodontic specialists, whereas certain dentists are certified to undertake orthodontic treatments.

Understanding Malocclusion of Teeth

Malocclusion is simply the misalignment of teeth.

When teeth are crooked or protrude, this is the most evident evidence of malocclusion. During an office visit, an orthodontist will recommend the best treatment based on the misalignment of a person’s teeth. There are three classes of malocclusion: class I, class II, and class III.

Occlusions That Are Common

Normal occlusion (contact between the upper and lower teeth) refers to “optimal” dental alignment.

A “perfect” bite aligns the teeth in a straight line. Normal occlusion without prior orthodontic treatment is unusual.

Class I malocclusion

The most common type of malocclusion is a class I malocclusion.

It entails some upper and lower tooth overlap. In a proper bite, the top teeth should fit over the lower teeth like a lid on a box. A class I malocclusion, on the other hand, means that the molar link is correct but there is crowding or gap in the front region.

Class II malocclusion

A class II malocclusion, or overbite, occurs when the upper teeth and jaw significantly overlap the lower teeth and jaw. This is a more prevalent kind of malocclusion than class I malocclusion.

Class III Malocclusion

A class III malocclusion, often known as an underbite, occurs when the lower jaw is dragged forward. The lower teeth and jaw also overlap the upper teeth and jaw.

Causes of Malocclusion

Malocclusion is a disorder that is often passed down via families.

The vast majority of people do not have normal occlusion from birth. As a result, they invest in orthodontic treatment as a long-term solution. Crowding, gaps, and an incorrect bite result from the disparity in tooth and jaw size. This suggests that there may not be enough room for both to grow properly.

Other common causes of malocclusion include:

  • Birth Defects, such as cleft lip and palate
  • Childhood habits include tongue pushing, thumb sucking, excessive pacifier use, and prolonged bottle feeding.
  • Imbalanced teeth, missing teeth, and having extra teeth are examples of dentition abnormalities.
  • Failure of dental crowns, cavity fillings, retainers, or braces is one example of a failed procedures.
  • Fractures, malignancies, tumours, dislocations, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (severe discomfort when moving the jaw), and osteonecrosis are all examples of jaw injuries and issues.

What Are The Different Types Of Orthodontic Appliances?

There are several treatment options available nowadays, ranging from retainers to clear aligners to invisible, metal, ceramic, and micro braces. They are all beneficial in their own unique way. Orthodontists have the specialised knowledge to evaluate all options depending on factors such as your age, potential jaw imbalances, tooth size inequalities, and other factors. They know what to use and when to use it, and will work with you to choose the best solution – for your best smile.

Today’s treatment options include:

  • bridging tooth gaps
  • Straightening of teeth
  • Bite adjustment
  • Speech and chewing improvement
  • Alignment of tooth tips
  • Improving your gum and tooth health

Orthodontists provide both permanent and removable equipment to correct a patient’s faulty bite and improve tooth alignment:

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces are made up of brackets that are affixed to the teeth and wires that are introduced through slots in the brackets. Some patients may additionally wear metal rings around their back teeth. Wires are held to brackets with tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” or “o-rings.” Brackets are frequently made of stainless steel. Wires made of metal alloys deliver a steady, mild force to move teeth.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.

Clear Aligners

Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays that are tailored to a person’s teeth. Patients are responsible for putting in and removing their aligners. A series of aligners is used to relocate teeth. Each aligner is worn for two to three weeks at a time, shifting teeth by a fraction of a millimetre at a time. Before eating or brushing/flossing their teeth, patients must remove their aligners. The number of aligners needed to straighten misaligned teeth varies depending on the individual’s orthodontic problem and how it is resolved.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.

Archwires are wires that are inserted into bracket slots to shift teeth. Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.

Round Archwires

When inspected in cross section, the wire displays a round shape. Round archwires are typically used in the early phases of orthodontic treatment to level and align teeth. Archwires are wires that are inserted into bracket slots to shift teeth.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.

Rectangular Archwires

In cross-section, a rectangular archwire has a rectangular shape — square on both ends with a long segment in between. Rectangular archwires are typically utilised in the last stages of orthodontic therapy to regulate and refine tooth movement. Archwires are wires that are inserted into bracket slots to shift teeth.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.

Clear Retainers 

Clear Retainers are clear, removable,  thin, slightly flexible retainers made of a plastic-like substance. They were constructed to fit the precise shape and arrangement of the teeth.

There are removable retainers as well as fixed retainers. Both types of retainers are used after “active” orthodontic treatment to keep teeth in their new positions. This allows newly formed bone around the teeth to harden. The use of retainers as instructed is important to the success of orthodontic treatment. Patients may be urged to wear retainers full-time for the first six months after finishing “active” treatment, with subsequent wear reduced to night-time only. Removable retainers should be placed in the orthodontist’s case while not in use.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.


Elastics are small rubber bands that apply additional force to a tooth or teeth in ways that braces cannot, helping teeth to shift into their proper places. Tiny hooks on selected upper and lower brackets are utilised as attachment points. The elastics can be set vertically or diagonally, depending on the needs of the user. Patients are in charge of putting on and removing their elastics. Elastics should be worn as directed by your orthodontist. Wear no more elastics than absolutely necessary. This puts too much pressure on the teeth, which can be harmful.

Consult with your orthodontist to discover the best treatment option for your unique needs.


A mouth guard is used by athletes of all ages to protect their teeth from injury during competitive and individual sports. They are built of a range of materials, some of which are somewhat flexible and others of which are relatively hard. Custom-made mouth guards provide the most protection. Over-the-counter mouth guards are available in “boil and bite” variants that are shaped to the individual’s mouth, as well as “ready to wear” versions that cannot be modified and provide the least amount of protection. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children and adults use mouth guards when participating in organised and leisure sports.

Consult with your orthodontic specialist to determine the best treatment choice for your specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic therapy is a treatment that straightens or repositions teeth to improve their look and function. By dispersing biting pressure uniformly across all of your teeth, it can also help to safeguard the long-term health of your teeth, gums, and jaw.

Why should I have orthodontic treatment?

Many people have crowded or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment will either straighten or relocate the teeth into a more favorable position. This can improve the appearance of their teeth as well as the way they bite together, making them easier to clean.

Some people have unsightly projecting top front teeth. Although orthodontic treatment can bring these ‘prominent’ teeth back into line, they are more prone to breaking. The way the upper and lower jaws meet, for example, might make teeth appear unappealing and contribute to an incorrect bite. Orthodontic treatment may be able to assist with both of these problems.

When the teeth do not make good contact, the jaw muscles get stressed, resulting in jaw and joint problems as well as headaches. Orthodontic therapy may help you bite more evenly and reduce tension.

At what age should I have orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is normally best received during childhood, but adults can have it as well – and more and more are doing so. It is more important to have the right number of teeth than to be a certain age. Before initiating therapy in children, it may be necessary to wait for a sufficient number of teeth to erupt.

Who carries out orthodontics?

Your dentist may be able to perform orthodontic treatment. They may also refer you to a professional with extra credentials. An orthodontist is a specialist who works in a private clinic or a hospital department.

What does it involve?

The most crucial thing is to undertake an in-depth investigation. Typically, this comprises checking your teeth, taking dental x-rays, and constructing plaster replicas of your teeth.
The various treatment choices will then be discussed with you by your dental team or orthodontist. When you are confident that you want to proceed, the operation can begin as soon as you have a sufficient number of permanent teeth.

Will I need to have teeth taken out to make room?

It’s likely that you won’t be able to accommodate all of your permanent teeth. If this is the case, you may need to pull some permanent teeth to make place. Your dental team will notify you if this is the case. Other types of treatment can also be utilised to make room.

How is treatment carried out?

Orthodontic treatment can be delivered using a variety of tools, the most common of which is a ‘brace.’

What is a removable brace?

Simple therapy can be accomplished with a detachable brace (a plate that can be taken out to be cleaned). It is equipped with delicate wires and springs that gently move the teeth.

What is a fixed brace?

Teeth frequently want more precise guiding than a removable brace can offer. As a result, a fixed bracing is necessary. Brackets and bands that are temporarily affixed to the teeth are examples of this. All of the brackets are linked together by a flexible wire, allowing the teeth to be adjusted. The item is referred to as a fixed appliance because it cannot be removed by the user.

What is a functional brace?

It is sometimes possible to influence the way the jaws grow by using a functional brace. This works by using the force of your jaw muscles and can help with the treatment of some types of disorders.

What are the brackets made of?

Fixed bracing is not necessarily made of metal. The use of plastic and ceramic, in particular, can assist adults.

What is headgear?

Some people must wear headgear as well as a brace. It is usually only essential to wear it in the evenings or at night. Your front teeth may protrude at the end of treatment if you do not wear it correctly.

What are ‘invisible braces’?

They are clear, durable plastic ‘aligners’ (moulds) that are used to straighten teeth. Each patient receives a number of sets of precisely formed, slightly different aligners. Each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with a new one. Because they are made of translucent plastic, they are almost imperceptible. This suggests that no one should be aware that you are having your teeth straightened.

The aligners should be worn for 22 to 23 hours per day for the best outcomes. They are simple to remove when eating, drinking, brushing your teeth, or cleaning between your teeth. You must have all of your adult teeth before undergoing this therapy.

What are elastics?

Thin elastic bands are occasionally attached to a fixed brace to help move the teeth. Your orthodontist will tell you if you need elastics.

How long will it take?

The duration of treatment is determined by the severity of the sickness and might range from a few months to two and a half years. The vast majority of patients can be treated within one to two years.

What happens when the teeth are in the right position?

When the therapy is finished, the teeth must be kept in place for a length of time. This is referred to as the’retention’ period, and the equipment used to hold the teeth in place are referred to as retainers.
Retainers hold freshly repaired teeth in place until the surrounding gum and bone settle. The retainers might be detachable or fixed, depending on the initial issue.

Will it hurt?

All appliances may feel strange and uncomfortable at first. If the problem persists, the orthodontist may be able to help by making modifications. Teeth are frequently painful following brace adjustments, but this will pass.

How many visits will it take?

Typically, orthodontic braces are adjusted every 4 to 6 weeks. Your orthodontist will advise you on how frequently you will need to have your brace adjusted.

How successful will it be?

Success is based on the orthodontist’s expertise as well as the patient’s enthusiasm and helpfulness (and parents, if the patient is a child). It is crucial to follow all orthodontist instructions and to attend all appointments.
The patient’s commitment is also critical to the treatment’s success. It is vital that the patient is as enthused about orthodontic treatment as the parent is.

Can orthodontics damage my teeth?

Your teeth may be injured if you do not take proper care of them throughout therapy. Braces will not destroy your teeth; but, poor oral care and a diet high in sugary foods and drinks may. Brackets, wires, and braces can trap food, causing plaque to build up faster than usual. As a result, you must clean your teeth and appliance with care.

Is orthodontic work permanent?

Minor tooth movement is typical throughout life, including after retention. As a result, no long-term warranty is possible. However, it is uncommon for teeth to change in such a way that additional treatment is required.

How do I go about getting orthodontic treatment?

The initial step should be to consult with your personal dental team. If you need treatment, your dentist will notify you and make the necessary arrangements.

How do I care for my brace and teeth?

It is vital to have your teeth checked by your dental team on a regular basis when receiving orthodontic treatment. You should also pay careful attention to your teeth and mouth:
Brush your teeth carefully every day, paying extra attention to the spaces between your teeth if feasible.
Braces are delicate, and you must clean them carefully to avoid breaking them.
Your dental staff will be able to show you the exact tactics to use based on the appliance you are wearing.
Reduce your consumption of sugary meals and beverages.
Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, as well as carbonated beverages. Sticky and hard foods can also be damaging to your brace.
Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least once throughout the day.
Use mouthwash if necessary.
Your dentist may suggest you to use a fluoride toothpaste with a higher fluoride content, as well as a fluoride gel or mouth rinse.